For the 20th year, groups from the Basehor community pitched in and cleaned up several miles of debris along the sides of the streets in and surrounding the city. Sponsored by Basehor Pride, the Earth Day celebration started bright and early on a Saturday morning and ended with a lunch and a special award.

This clean-up tradition began in 1997 with the Basehor Pride organization picking up trash on two miles of highway that ran through Basehor. In 2000, Earth Day was born and now heavily relies on Basehor students for manpower.

Basehor-Linwood Middle School student Ashley Bailey was among the first students in the door to help.

“I wanted to help the community since they have helped me,” she said.

Students from Basehor-Linwood schools represented several groups including the Basehor-Linwood Mentors and Care Cats, Basehor-Linwood track and field team and the Basehor Middle School Ambassadors. In addition, members of the Basehor VFW, Basehor Lions Club and Young Life served as group leaders for the students.

After trash pick-up was complete, participants were rewarded with a chili lunch, prepared by VFW chef Betty McLaughlin.

Basehor resident Tammy Potts headed up the logistical efforts this year and discussed the importance of National Service Day with volunteers as well as thanking them for their efforts.

“Citizens want to get out and be part of our Earth Day event,” Potts said. “Everyone is encouraged to give back. Every ‘litter’ bit helps.”

Thirteen routes were scavenged for bits of litter and other debris that was collected by the teams. Adding to the fun was a special trophy created by Liz Novo-Gradac. The trophy was a compilation of litter items Novo-Gradac had collected earlier this year during her runs around town. The coveted award was given to the BLHS track and field volunteers, Team Big – Heavy Stuff, who found the most unusual piece of litter.

“This is my favorite thing to do. I love trash day,” Novo-Gradac said.

Beth Kornegay is a freelance writer covering news and events in the city of Basehor. If you have a story idea, email her at gabi_kansas@yahoo.com